What is Bone Grafting and How It Ties to Dental Implants?
As you walk into the Dr. Carmichael’s office, you start getting pretty excited. You can’t wait to tell Dr. Carmichael that you’re finally ready for dental implants. Soon, you’ll have the winning smile you were used to seeing and you can say goodbye to your dentures for good. As you start talking with Dr. Carmichael, she says “After reviewing your x-ray, I think we should perform a bone graft before implantation.” For a moment you freeze.
What does this mean? Is it the procedure safe? Thankfully, bone grafts are a common in the field of dental implants, so don’t worry. Dr. Carmichael will make it easier to understand.
What is Bone Grafting?
Bone in the jaw is meant to support the teeth that rest on top of it. However, as a tooth starts to fall out, either from age or from decay, the bone that once supported the tooth is no longer stimulated. This causes the bone to atrophy and shrink with disuse.
Think of a bone graft like you would a skin graft. Instead of taking healthy skin from other parts of the body to use elsewhere, your dentist uses bone. It’s quite surprising how much your jaw relies on teeth to keep its full shape, but that doesn’t mean you should lose hope for dental implants.
What Does It Have to Do with Dental Implants?
Bone grafting is a very common procedure prior to receiving dental implants. It’s far more typical for patients to be missing multiple teeth for long periods of time before considering dental implants. This means they most likely use dentures or other replacement methods before getting their dental implants.
If your dentist tells you your jaw bone is too thin or soft to receive dental implants in its current form, they’ll offer bone grafting as a solution. In the past, doctors would use autogenous grafts, or large quantities of patient bone for restoring bone. Today, they more typically use xenografts, which are processed bone harvested from animals. After you receive the bone graft, your body will eventually resorb it naturally, allowing your jawbone to hold dental implants once again.
What Does the Procedure Entail?
The process of receiving a bone graft can take several months depending on how much bone needs to be resorbed. If a xenograft is not sufficient enough to replace your bone, your doctor will need to use your native bone instead.
One of the most common grafts is known as ridge preservation graft or “socket” graft. When a tooth is extracted, you’ll be left with a hole surrounded by a shell of alveolar bone, which supports teeth. The ridge graft fills the space left by extracted teeth, allowing the remaining bone to merge with it. After placement, Dr. Carmichael will suture the area and allow it to heal. Once she has determined the bone has grown back, you can start planning for your dental implants at Carmichael Dentistry.
Don’t let a bone graft stop you from transforming your smile. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Carmichael today to learn the necessary steps to get your dental implants!
General, Cosmetic and Implant Dentist | San Diego, CA, Rancho Penasquitos, CA
9728 Carmel Mountain Rd. Suite B,
San Diego, CA 92129